South Carolina Republican and Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham clutched his pearls and accused Hawai'i Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of "slandering" Attorney General Bill Barr, after she took a wrecking ball to the hapless attorney general's record of obstruction and lying.
"From the beginning, you were addressing an audience of one, that person being Donald Trump," Hirono said. "That’s why before the bombshell news of yesterday evening, eleven of my Senate colleagues and I called on the department of justice inspector general, and office of professional responsibility to investigate the way you have handled the Mueller report."
"Being attorney general of the United States is a scared trust," she went on. "You have betrayed that trust, America deserves better. You should resign."
Hirono began peppering Barr with questions about the "ten episodes of possible obstruction" Barr had declined to describe as such.
"With apologies to Adam Schiff, do you think all the things that President Trump did are okay? Are they what the president of the United States should be doing?" she asked. "Do you think it’s okay for a president to fire an FBI director, to stop him from investigating links between his campaign and Russia? It may not be a crime but do you think it’s okay?"
"Well, I think the report is clear that —" Barr began, but Hirono had no time for his equivocating.
"No, I’m not talking about the report or the analysis of whether a crime occurred," she said. "I’m asking you, this is not a crime but do you think it’s okay for the president to do what he did, to fire the special counsel to keep them from investigating?" Barr, visibly frustrated, thrashed like a trout on a hook, as Hirono reeled him in.
"Do you think it’s okay for a president to ask his White House counsel to lie?" she repeated.
"Well, I’m willing to talk about what’s criminal -- " he replied.
"We’ve already acknowledged that you think it was not a crime. I’m just asking if you think it’s okay, even if it’s not a crime. Do you think it’s okay for the president to ask his White House counsel to lie?" On and on it went, until Barr was reduced to pleading confusion.
"Please, Mr. Attorney General," Hirono said, as a resentful Barr tried to interject. "Give us some credit for knowing what the Hell is going on around here with you."
"Not really," piped up Graham. "This line of questioning --listen, you’ve slandered this man."
"I do not think that I’m slandering anyone," shot back Hirono. "Mr. Chairman, I am done. Thank you very much."
"And you slandered this man from top to bottom," Graham complained. "So if you want more of this, you’re not going to get it."
"Certainly have your opinion. I have mine," said Hirono, getting in the final say.
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